=== Eyes Slideways ===
[COMIC PANEL ONE] You kiddies are desperately hoping for something to occur that might distract SSI, and cause it to talk about something other than soldiers killing people and breaking things.
[COMIC PANEL TWO] Hector Noesi occurs today.
[COMIC PANEL THREE] ::crickets:: :: Dr D thrashes about for a punch line ::
Where is Jeff Sullivan when you really need him?
The infield battles are not very interesting. Well, it's interesting to see whether the M's will keep only two catchers, and whether they can find room for Alex Liddi or Nick Franklin. But 1B-2B-SS-3B are set.
The 5-man outfield rotation is kind of interesting. However, all of the outfielders other than Morse and possibly Saunders are of roughly equal talent. Whether the M's give time to Casper Wells or Jason Bay is unlikely to swing the balance of power in the West.
The M's are loaded in the bullpen. That's not a battle; it's an impending bloodbath. For the other teams. I know a couple of pricey AL West teams who had better get their leads by the 6th inning.
However, the starting rotation battle is both (1) fascinating and (2) a pivot point for the M's presumed future domination of hardball as we know it.
Cinderella teams occur, and usually they occur because Billy Beane finds five starting pitchers who lock you down. The M's cleanest path to a big season is by getting a surprise rotation going. It could like totally happen. It is most heinously the job of the shot-callers to MAKE it happen. They can't afford to be feebleminds on their rotation calls.
Capt Jack and Sgt Wedge can afford to indulge their biases on Robert Andino or Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez or three catchers. They gotta get the rotation right.
Bill James learned, once he got inside baseball, that Theo Epstein's GM seasons depended on 10 or 12 mammoth decisions he made each season, and whether those turned out to be the right calls. HERE is where they gotta get it right.
If you look back from November 2013, and the Mariners turned out to have a great season, it says here it will probably have been -- primarily -- because they made the right calls in the rotation.